After a successful career at a well-respected catering equipment supplier John Mollett of Bradford, Eric Lloyd left his position as General Manager in August 1956 to start a new business, E Lloyd & Son.
With the help of his son Brian Lloyd (who became full time in 1958), a secretary and an Austin A35 van, on the 24th September 1956 the doors of E Lloyd & Son first opened, a small catering equipment showroom at No 10 Corporation Street, Sheffield.
Not best known for compromise, Eric was a very meticulous person and absolute stickler for the smallest of details. From the offset he set out to achieve the highest standards and instilled stringent core values to ensure that the fledgling business excelled when it came to service and customer care.
The business was successful and grew quickly, in 1959 Eric purchased the property next door effectively doubling the available floor space.
Famous for the production of stainless steel cutlery, during the 1950’s and 1960’s, Sheffield, commonly referred to as The Steel City was a buoyant and thriving industrial centre. During this time E Lloyd & Son’s main area of business was the design and fit out many of the large scale industrial canteens in and around Sheffield.
The business was flourishing and in 1965 the company having grown out of its premises, moved from Corporation Street to a much larger building on the corner of Stanley Street in Sheffield. The following year Brian Lloyd had his first child, a son, Eric Lloyd’s grandson and to mark the occasion he named the building Simon House.
In 1973 Brian Lloyd took control over the business which at the time was a successful and well-respected albeit local supplier. Full of enthusiasm and fresh ideas, Brian soon began to expand the scope of the business and introduce new and forward-thinking technologies.
The 1970’s marked a significant turning point for the business as the main client base began to change. The demand for Sheffield steel had started to fall and with it many of the steel works and associated canteens began closing down.
It was around this time that the idea of nationwide restaurant groups really first began to take off in this country. Brian Lloyd gained the trust of breweries and independent companies keen to develop food lead brands. Lloyd Catering Equipment started working with groups at a time when most were in their infancy.
During the 1980’s the concept of restaurant groups simply exploded in this country. It was an area we had already become heavily involved in and with its rapid expansion as a sector it quickly became our core business. Brian and the team at Lloyd’s set out to find ways in which the business could adapt to best serve its specific needs.
It was with this goal in mind that Lloyd’s became one of if not the first in our industry to fully adopt CAD (computer aided design). The switch over to CAD was made around 1984. Before MS Windows or Autodesk hit the market, we started with a DOS based system produced by Robo Systems International called RoboCAD.
At the time it was cutting edge technology and extremely expensive by today’s standards, a two-user system costing around £50,000.00. It was a huge commitment for the company, with the exception of property it remains one of the single biggest investments we have made when adjusted for inflation.
The early adoption of CAD gave Lloyd’s a distinct advantage over many of our competitors for a number of years.
In February 1991 we moved in to our current premises at New Road, close to the M1 motorway on the border between Sheffield and Rotherham. The building originally was a small warehouse unit which we extended quite dramatically, to all intense and purpose it was custom made to our specifications. We incorporated a fully functional development and test kitchen which from the offset proved to be a great asset. This facility allowed our clients to evaluate equipment and new technologies in direct relation to what they wanted to achieve.
As we entered the new millennium we have continued with the same enthusiasm and dedication that have become our hallmark. We are as keen today as we have always been to evaluate and adopt fully, new technology that enhances what we do. Above all we are passionate about our industry, about creating efficient, highly functional foodservice environments. We freely admit to being anoraks that get a real buzz when it comes to design ideas and thoughts on new innovation. As a team, we share a common goal, that our company be the best it can be.